This project will teach life skills to Maasai girls and boys, offer business training and seed grants to rural Maasai women, provide mentoring and leadership support to Maasai students, and engage parents to increase involvement of the whole community in our effort to end early marriage of girls, teen pregnancy, female genital mutilation, and the spread of HIV, all significant factors preventing girls from getting an education and contributing to poverty among the Maasai.
Maasai girls are disproportionately denied the right to an education. They face both cultural and economic barriers that include forced child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), preferential treatment of boys, and traditionalist views that girls should not go to school. By offering community education workshops, the entire ethnic group will learn how to combat these obstacles, keep girls in schools, and ultimately lead healthier lives.
Community education workshops address the social customs and cultural beliefs that prevent Maasai girls from going to school. Chiefs and elders, the head of the family unit and the Maasai people, are taught the benefits of educating girls, women are given the means to generate sufficient income, and girls are provided a support system of women, who together, fight the social pressures that lead to high dropout rates in schools.
The community workshops will (1) accelerate the acceptance of educating girls, (2) increase the number of girls who complete their education, (3) reduce early marriage, teen pregnancy, FGM and HIV, all significant factors contributing to girls dropping out of school, (4) reduce poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy by providing business training and seed grants to rural Maasai women, who will then be able to educate both daughters and sons, and by keeping girls and boys in school.